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February 11, 2008
CONTACT: Steve Hudak


FinCEN Releases Ninth Issue of SAR Activity Review - By The Numbers

VIENNA, Va. - The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued today the latest edition of the SAR Activity Review - By The Numbers. This report presents a compilation of numerical data gathered from Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed through the first six months of the year. While this report does not analyze specific trends, changes in the reporting of some suspicious activities are of note and will be of interest to financial institutions, regulatory, and law enforcement agencies. For example, the suspicious activity characterization Mortgage Loan Fraud increased 35% from the corresponding six-month period in 2006. FinCEN is preparing a more comprehensive analysis of mortgage fraud to be released in the near future.

Structuring/Money Laundering continues to be the predominant characterization of SARs filed by depository institutions, at 48%. However, Check Fraud (10.5%), Counterfeit Check (4.9%), Credit Card Fraud (4.8%), Mortgage Loan Fraud (3.9%), Check Kiting (3.3%), Identity Theft (2.4%) and other types of fraud are consistently represented. By The Numbers further categorizes this data by state and by year so that users can compare numbers which are relevant to their areas of interest.

Since the inception of SAR filing requirements for money services businesses in 2002, along with the addition of requirements for other covered industries, SAR filings by non-depository institutions have grown to represent approximately 42% of all SARs filed.

In addition to use by FinCEN analysts, SARs are made available to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and regulators. Law enforcement uses SARs both reactively to support existing investigations of fraud and money laundering, and proactively to initiate new investigations. There are over 80 SAR review teams located across the United States which consist of experts trained to conduct complex criminal financial investigations.

FinCEN issues The SAR Activity Review - By the Numbers twice a year, as a companion piece to The SAR Activity Review - Trends, Tips & Issues.